Organic information availability expanding

Sources of organic production and marketing information are readily available from numerous e-newsletters, websites, and a network of resource people.

Consumer demand for organic products continues to rise. Organic now claims 4 percent of the U.S. food market according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The organic infrastructure and information base is increasing also. There are an impressive number of quality resources that are available to organic producers and consumers. Below is a listing of websites that provide a wide array of organic information and assistance.

Michigan Organic Exchange. This site offers information on all aspects of organic farming. It provides information for beginning farmers, a listing of organic farming mentors you can call, organic certification procedures, soil building and compost resources, organic fruit and vegetable production publications, events calendar, season extension resources, and much more. You can also correspond with the site manager for additional information via the site.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). This website is maintained by the national outreach office of the SARE program, supported by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. SARE provides low cost and free books, fact sheets, newsletters, courses and curricula, multi-media, grant opportunities, event calendar, project reports, and more. Its focus is primarily on sustainable agriculture crop production and farm management.

MSU Student Organic Farm. The Michigan State University Student Organic Farm is located on 10 acres on the main campus, offering certified organic year-round teaching and hands-on production experience. This website provides information about the one-year farmer training program, hoop house information, education and research partnerships, and how to get involved.

New Ag Network. Michigan State University, Purdue University, and the University of Illinois have joined resources to bring seasonal advice to field crop and vegetable growers interested in organic agriculture. New information is posted at least twice a month during the growing season and less frequently during winter. The online newsletter features crop updates from organic growers and articles from university specialists about a variety of practices and new findings useful for organic growers.

Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA). MOFFA website provides an Eating Organically Guide, organic newsletters and articles, events calendar and other organic resources. MOFFA is the host of the Michigan Organic Conference.

Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS). MIFFS website provides links to marketing and selling resources and tools, grazing resources, hoophouse and high tunnel resources, good agricultural and handling practices, young and beginning farmer resources, news articles, and events calendar. MIFFS is a sponsor of numerous educational programs as well as an annual Family Farm Conference.

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA). ATTRA provides extensive, online free and low cost factsheets and bulletins for sustainable agriculture and organic farming plus news, events and funding opportunities.

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). The MOSES website contains a bimonthly newsletter called the Organic Broadcaster, an organic event calendar, and their resource listing.

Rodale Institute. Rodale Institute, for over 60 years, has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world. Their website contains the New Farm publication articles, research results and related information.

This list is by no means complete. Any additional suggestions you might have, please send them to Dan Rossman or Vicki Morrone to be included in future listings.

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